Teenage gang feud was behind the murder of 17-year-old Mehedi Hasan Shuvo, who was killed by his rivals in the capital's Dakkhin Khan area on August 31, said police.
Police said enmity between groups is nothing new, and clashes often ensue over show of muscle power, establishing supremacy or “drawing respect” from peers.
In a latest development, a team of detective branch of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) yesterday arrested eight teenagers including a key suspect of the murder from Dakkhin Khan area, Masudur Rahman, deputy commissioner (media) told a press briefing at DMP Media Centre.
The arrestees are Saif, Monir, Arafat, Saiful, Mehrab, Apel, Sifat and Sohel. Police also recovered a switchblade from Saif, the key suspect.
Police said there are several teenage groups like "Jim-Jiad group", "Shanto group", "Arafat group", "Kamal group" and "Ansar group" in Dakkhin Khan.
Most gang members are from higher and upper middle classes of the society. Some of them end up taking drugs and have been involved in various crimes like extorting, mugging, stalking and so on.
To show off their strength, these gang members -- aged between 16 and 24 -- often drive motorbikes rowdily, and clash with other group members, said police and locals.
Among them, "Shanto group" and "Arafat group" have 60 to 70 members each, who have backing from local political leaders as they often take part in political activities, according to locals.
The DC said the two teenage gangs were active in Dakhhin Khan's Nogoria area and the victim was a member of "Shanto group".
Some 15 days before Eid-ul-Azha, altercations ensued between one Kawsar of "Arafat group" and Mehedi from "Shanto group", over a trivial matter of showing disrespect. Following that, members of "Shanto group" including Mehedi beat up Kawsar and Saif of "Arafat group" in two separate attacks. Two general diaries were also filed in these connections.
On August 31, Mehedi and one Nazmul stabbed one Tawkir of "Arafat group".
Later in the day, when both the groups came at KC convention centre in the area to attend a ruling party procession where former home minister Sahara Khatun went to take part. Near the venue, members of "Arafat group" attacked rival group members.
“When Mehedi caught two members of the rival group, Saif of 'Arafat group' stabbed him with the switchblade and others beat him up with sticks,” the police official said.
Mehedi was rushed to Kurmitola General Hospital where doctors declared him dead. Later, the victim's mother filed a murder case with Dakkhin Khan Police Station in this connection.
Victim's brother Nahid said Mehedi came to Dhaka on Eid vacation. He left Dhaka a year ago to study in Patuakhali, he added.
Mehedi's friends, however, said his family shifted him to their hometown in Patuakhali finding his involvement with the group.
Visiting Shanto's house in Nagorbari area on Wednesday, this correspondent could not find him at home. His family members also avoided questions about his whereabouts.
Talking to this newspaper, several local shopkeepers said Shanto's family was influential in the area and he maintained a teenage group of 15 to 20 boys.
According to local students, leaders of such gangs try to convince school-goers to join their gang, assuring of support from seniors in case of any conflicts. If any member of a gang has any fight with anyone else, the entire gang teams up to help him out, they said.
Such gang members are frequently seen in front of schools and colleges in the area during breaks and after class ends, according to locals in Dakkhin Khan.